It’s amazing how most of the overseas holidays we go on seem to last ages while we’re over there, wherever it may be, but as soon as it’s all over and I’m back into the work routine it’s as if nothing even happened. Spending four weeks in the US was fantastic to say the least; two weeks pretending to be locals in Manhattan and the rest in Nevada and California with a rental car.
My first trip to New York was nine years ago as part of a 10 month backpacking trip around the world where the Aussie dollar was 40¢ to the American and our daily budget wasn’t as luxurious as this time around where the our dollar was stronger than the green back.
Whilst in New York we stayed at two hotels. The first week was spent Midtown at the Affinia on 7th Avenue; a nice enough apartment-style hotel but the only thing is that 7th Avenue is noisy and a virtual freeway of tooting cars, sirens and thousands of people. When we stumbled upon The Standard in the Meatpacking District we moved down there for the following week. A much nicer area, quieter, with a wealth of restaurants at our doorstep. Restaurants such as this – Colicchio & Sons.
Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio opened this place last year in the same space of his defunct Craftsteak, a restuarant that was only around for a few years. I’ve gotta say this guy is one busy man with places scattered all around the country, most of which are under the “Craft” label having either a New American flavour or something fancy thrown between two pieces of bread.
It was the Prix Fixe lunch that grabbed our attention at this stunning restaurant a stones throw from Chelsea Market. $25 for three courses? You bet. A glass of Californian pinot, a freshly baked bread roll, glimpses over the Hudson River to Jersey City … bring on the food. A very fresh starter of market beans, smokey bacon and ricotta may seem like it escaped from the “sides” menu but to be perfectly honest, why wouldn’t you want to kick things off crunching into babies that look like that? Beautiful.
My chosen roasted bone marrow came with a few slight grimaces from the other half as I tucked into the slightly burnished and wobbly delicacy. The portion was quite large with three cut bones sitting atop crunchy toasted baguette with a little truffle vinaigrette and a final flourish of sweet “drunk” onions to cut through the intense richness. Admittedly I did struggle a bit with the raw marrow in the centre but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The roasted quail was going to be one of my choices but when Mr K decided to have it I went with the glorious red wattle pork shoulder. This rare swine gets the name from its burnt orange colour and the bizarre “wattle” protuberance below its jowls. The slow cooked shoulder is melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness made even better with buttery Anson Mills polenta, broccoli rabe (like leafy broccolini) and lemony gremolata. The bowl, after I ate everything, was wiped clean with bread. The thyme roasted quail sits on a fresh orzo salad with shaved radish, zucchini and roasted oyster mushrooms. A very light dish and despite the expected fiddly bones it is delicious.
The dessert menu has a small handful of choices including icecreams and sorbets. The Concord grape and raspberry sherbet sorbets taste exactly as you’d expect them to and are a light end to a fabulous meal. The heavier milk chocolate pudding is topped with marshmallow icecream, toasted almonds and a shard of chocolate almond “bark” filled with thick caramel. Not so light for me, but I couldn’t help but enjoy it.
Where to next?